@ Steve Brown: So nice when those who are concerned …

Comment on Gas, fracking: potential benefits to Aborigines enormous by Charmaine Roth.

@ Steve Brown: So nice when those who are concerned with the rapid development of unconventional shale gas across the NT are labeled loony left and all the rest.
Are those who support the shale gas industry really that strapped for answers that they have to continuously revert to name calling and petty insults?
I would suggest that perhaps you take the time to read the ACOLA Report “Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production – A study of shale gas in Australia.”
It is often referred to by the petroleum industry as the proof that the industry can go ahead safely. The truth is, this report highlights the need to acknowledge and identify all areas of risk the unconventional shale gas industry presents, in order to begin developing a protective regulatory framework.
How are risks supposed to be identified if we only listen to the misinformation and cherry-picked lines that portray a wonderful and safe this industry.
You doubt water requirements of the unconventional shale gas industry?
Unlike conventional and CSG wells, shale requires fracturing to release the gas from source rock, 100% of the time. Historical well records in the US, from where we must draw most data due to the infant stages of this industry in Australia, show a rapid decline in gas flows within a short timeframe and therefore requires refracting on average three times throughout each well’s lifespan.
Due to depth and length, the average horizontally drilled and hydraulically fractured shale well requires around 30,000,000 litres of water per treatment.
Of this 40-80% is returned to the surface. Along with fracking chemicals, this water carries with it excessive salt.
The brine is upward of five to seven times saltier than seawater.
Along with it is carried to the surface, heavy metals, volatile organics and naturally occurring radioactive materials.
The ACOLA report states that the presence of harmful chemicals and elements in produce water will limit treatment and reuse possibilities.
Currently there is no water treatment facility suitable in the NT, and the large volumes of produce water has to captured, stored and then trucked to Queensland. This is essentially mining and removing water from the natural system.
The CSIRO has given indication that mining, and in particular the petroleum industry, be bought in under the Water Act to ensure aquifers are not over extracted.
Already water levels around Alice and in other parts of the NT are dropping faster than aquifers can recharge. And no formal study has taken place into the effects on groundwater of massive and rapid drawdown.
Due to the nature of shale wells, new wells are bought online quickly. Unlike a conventional gasfield that can take decades to develop to full potential, the ramp up to full production of an unconventional gasfield is rapid.
In simple comparison East Mereenie had 43 wells drilled between 1964 and 2004.
West Mereenie, 20 wells drilled between 1964 and 2014.
Palm Valley, 14 wells drilled between 1965 and 1995.
Whereas the Eagle Ford Shale play (USA) has to date 22 active fields.
Eagle Ford 1 field was drilled and fractured 2,204 times … in a period of five years.
The Briscoe Ranch field currently has 914 producing unconventional wells, drilled within the same period.
Due to the fast nature of unconventional gasfield development, the construction phase is relatively short lived. The detrimental effects of such rapid boom and bust scenario is demonstrated quite plainly in the Chinchilla / Roma Queensland CSG scenario.
Considering the high degree of technical and specialised skills required in unconventional gas extraction industry, the majority of longer termed jobs will be filled by FIFO workers.
Once gas flow has reduced to a point that re-fracturing becomes commercially non viable, the well is killed off and abandoned.
The surface is subject to restoration to an ‘acceptable level’ as described in current regulations, the company receives their environmental bond and walk away wiping their hands of the 52,000 projected well numbers.
We have already seen what happens to petroleum wells after they have been sitting idle and abandoned for a number of decades … you might want to take a look at the Anacoora / McDills / Dakota wells of south east NT and the result of corrosion and collapse of well integrity. The extent of damage and inter aquifer contamination was never properly identified, and the rehabilitation of these wells came at a cost to the Australian and NT tax payer.
The nature of these shale wells exposes them to higher risk of integrity failure, and are under attack from corrosives both internally and externally.
Eventually these wells will lead to the creation of migration pathways for contaminants into groundwater, and through to surface and atmosphere.
The threat caused by abandoned wells is recognised by scientific bodies in the UK, with recomendations calling for perpetual monitoring of groundwater and air quality around wells to give early detection of any failure of integrity so that it can be rectified. This of course would have to continue eternally, and should not come at a cost to public purse.
But, by pointing these facts out, that can be easily backed with science, opens the door for further insults and attack from those who push the develop at all cost agenda.
The NT needs development for sure, but it needs to be understood that putting economy before environment is a very risky game to play, for without a healthy environment, there will be no economy.

Charmaine Roth Also Commented

Gas, fracking: potential benefits to Aborigines enormous
How would these royalties be distributed? Will NLC and CLC keep a percentage? Will we contininue to see people living in impoverished conditions as they have done so with all previous onshore gas and mining royalties to date?

Recent Comments by Charmaine Roth

CLP pushes for oil & gas, including fracking
Are the CLP members who voted in favour of this policy going to deal with the legacy that a relatively short lived unconventional hydrocarbon extraction industry will leave in its wake?
The US experience hasn’t been as rosy as what the companies would have us believe.
Shale wells produce the most within the first year, following that there is rapid decline in flow, resulting in vastly reduced royalties.
Add to that, the US boom was helped by existing infrastructure in place and on-ground work force. Here in the NT we don’t even have decent public access roads, meaning a huge upgrade to many highways and roads to year round / all weather access for heavy vehicles.
And then we have the issue of all of these wells being handed to the regulator once the companies have deemed them to be no longer commercially viable, and take the steps of abandonment, or (as the US experience has shown) orphan, the thousands of wells that will be required to drain the shale.
Once returned to the regulator, each and every one of these wells then becomes a financial burden on the public purse, requiring ongoing monitoring and remediation in perpetuity.

More doubts on Gunner’s fracking policies
Hi Lindsay: Don’t Frack Katherine is a volunteer community advocate group that represents the majority of Katherine and district poplulation who have concerns with the develop of unconventional gas production in the Katherine region.
Our main focus is the protection of ground water sources as the vast majority of residents, existing industries and our spring fed tropical rivers are reliant on this precious water resource.
We have embarked on a journey of extensive research in order to better understand the impacts and risks involved from various aspects of shale gas exploration, production and abandonment. We were not only reading countless reports and papers, but engaging in conversations with industry reps, hydrogeologists, well integrity experts, and negotiating with departmental heads.
Don’t Frack Katherine has been calling for protection of aquifer recharge areas, essential studies to be undertaken, vital baseline data collected, and an independent purposely trained cadre to regulate the industry.
We believe that industry and government have cherry picked lines from recommendations of Chief Scientists, deliberately leaving out the comments about necessity for extensive studies in order to understand the complexity of the issues this industry brings in order to minimize impact.
We do have a Facebook page (same name) if you are interested in finding out more about our group.

Fracking survey details will not be released
I also rang the IT technician in Darwin after I became aware there might be a problem with submitting responses to the fracking inquiry.
I had not received an acknowledgment after hitting submit.
The IT tec confirmed my submission had not made it through.
I mentioned two other names, and he could not locate those either and seemed quite concerned. He suggested that people could email submissions in, but the address was not in the submission page that had been announced to use in a Labor media release.
He rang back a little while later and said they had hopefully fixed the problem and had also had added the email address in for people.
I posted on Facebook about the issue to urge people to resubmit if they didn’t receive an acknowledgement.
I have had about ten people approach me and say that they had the same problem.
Potentially there could be hundreds of people whose submissions failed to be captured by the NTG website.
I believe it is only fair that NTG advertise the fact and give an extension for submissions to be made.

Fracking panel for cattlemen: debate or monologues?
Can anyone extend on Ron Kelly’s “3000 wells and 1000 fracked” statement … because there isn’t that many wells listed on any Department Mines and Energy documents.
I find it quite alarming that department heads and ministers have no idea of the differences between conventional and unconventional gas deposits and the differences in extraction methods between the two.
Our regulator cannot regulate the existing extractive industry … hence the billion dollar clean up bill for Red Bank … plus ongoing legacy from mining activities right the way across the NT.
If they have no idea what they are in for, how can we trust them to regulate a high risk industry?

Gas the “glittering prize” but fracking worries some
I hold no confidence in any person or department who can not (or are unwilling to) distinguish between conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction methods.
Hydraulic fracturing in sandstone pockets is vastly different with less associated risk than the horizontally drilled, high volume slickwater, multistage fracturing that is needed for shale extraction.
It is comparing apples to oranges … though in this case it is more like comparing a strawberry to a deadly nightshade berry.

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